News / Arts & Entertainment

Hotel in Rio Favela Attracts Jazz Enthusiasts

Hotel in Rio Favela Attracts Jazz Enthusiastsi
X
July 11, 2014 6:33 PM
You might not expect to find a hotel in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas -- the local name for the city's shantytowns. But VOA’s Brian Allen has the unlikely success story of “The Maze.” Though it's located in one of the poorest parts of the city, it has also been named as one of the best places to hear live jazz music in the world.
Brian Allen

You might not expect to find a hotel in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas - the local name for the city's shantytowns.  The success story of “The Maze,” though located in one of the poorest parts of the city, it has been named one of the best places to hear live jazz music in the world.

Nearly everywhere you go in Rio de Janeiro, you’re always close to an informal settlement, or favela.
 
More than 11 million Brazilians live in these poor communities, famous for the colorful - but often dangerously constructed - buildings, dense population, and in some cases, the drug trade and associated crime.
 
In hotels, brochures advertise favela tours, next to pamphlets for helicopter rides and boat excursions.
 
But one man has gone far beyond treating Rio’s favelas as just a tourist adventure: 35 years ago, Bob Nadkarni moved in.
 
Welcome to The Maze.

It started as a quiet art studio for the British expatriate.  Slowly, he expanded the space and ultimately opened his sprawling home, with one of the best views of Rio de Janeiro, to friends and family.
 
“It’s not just a house, it’s a work of art.  It’s a sculpture people live in and find their way through.  It’s called The Maze because it’s a place people come to lose themselves and find themselves,” he said.
 
Nadkarni was instrumental in helping clean up the Tavares Bastos favela, where The Maze is located.  For years, he said, it was run by gangs and drug lords.  He convinced the controversial favela pacification police to set up shop - permanently.
 
In 2005, The Maze became a hotel.
 
“As my wife said, all my friends treat me as a hotel anyway, and I thought, ‘you know, I am a hotel!’ So I built a few more rooms and opened it up and got this going,” he explained.
 
In recent years, the guesthouse has developed a reputation as a world-renowned jazz club.  DownBeat Magazine, an influential music publication, lists it as one of the “best jazz venues” in the world.
 
Nadkarni said the now-famous “Jazz Night,” the first Friday of every month, started small.  “We had a party with a few friends of mine playing jazz, 12 people here, and they all liked it so much they suggested we do it again.  So they all brought three friends the next month, and then it was 40 people.  It became geometric, and now I don’t ever get less than 500 people at a jazz night,” he said.
 
The Maze has raised its prices, trying to keep the attendance manageable - but people still flock in.
 
For Nadkarni, that’s just what he wants. “I get a house full of all kinds of people. I get a lot of artists and poets and writers and filmmakers and musicians here," he explained. "It’s a place where people meet and exchange ideas and bounce off each other.”
 
The morning after Jazz Night, life at The Maze is quiet again.  The space is empty and the people are gone - but the gorgeous, panoramic views remain.
 
And Nadkarni’s wife helps their daughter with her homework - in the same spot that was packed with people and alive with music just hours before.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”